Lessons Learned: The Wrong Kind of Busy

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Lessons Learned 14 Comments

In last week’s Lessons Learned I talked about how important it is to stop hiding behind technology and actually use the phone to communicate with people.  For some using the phone is natural but for others like myself it is going to be a challenge because we have to overcome habit and fear.

This past week was a pretty busy week for myself, I rarely watched TV and was contently doing something that was Real Estate Investing related.  Let me try and break down how my week went…

Monday: Read REI Blogs; Talked with Jason “BildgeFisherman” on skype about our strategies; Worked on the Redesign of my webpage to use the Thesis theme; Posted a few craigslist ads to try and attract short sale leads; Posted my Probate Monday Blog post.

Tuesday: Read REI Blogs; Commented on forums; Did days 9,10,11,12 of 31 Days to a better blog (by David Rowse); Emailed some Realtors about short sales; looked around the MLS.

Wednesday: Snow day from the 9to5; Read REI Blogs; Worked on my blog redesign for most of the day; Came up with some blog post ideas I wanted to write about; Figured out the computer screen capture software for the video I created; Posted Short Sale Craigslist ads again; looked around the MLS.

Thursday: Got a phone call from my marketing; Did research into ways to write down to-do lists; Ordered the new Book of the month club book; Read REI Blogs; Worked on a Simple logo for my blog redesign;looked around the MLS.

Friday: So far today I’ve just been working and I’ve written this post.

What I learned

Busy week considering I also worked my 9to5 as well, right?  As I looked back on the week I thought to myself, what did I really accomplish that would help me as a real estate investor?  Sure there were some items like talking with Jason, posting ads and sending out emails (of which I plan on follow up calls next week), but many of those other things where not getting me closer to my goals.

My overriding goal is to become a successful real estate investor and if you looked at what I did last week it looks like it’s to be a blogger.   This past week shows that I keep busy, but sometimes it’s the wrong kind of busy. Many times in my 9 to 5 world I’ll be assigned tasks that just seem to take up time and give the illusion that I’m being productive.  This is called Busy Work.

If you want to achieve your goals you must limit the busy work in your life and replace it with productive, moving forward type tasks.  The idea is if the work you are doing does not get you closer to your end goal, then drop it and do something that does!

A great way to keep yourself on track is to setup a daily To-Do List that you follow.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting a series about To-Do Lists and the best way to go about writing them to guarantee you follow through.

Scott Costello
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Comments 14

  1. Amen brother… I get caught up with this problem, and when I do I try to remember some advice Nick J. gave me. Divide my yearly profit goal into the daily amounts. For me my goal is $90,000 in 2010. That equals $246/day.

    So if the task I am working on will not help get me to the $246/day, then I need to move onto something more productive.

  2. I've got the Problogger e-book as well. Really good stuff. I try to get my blogs done at night after the kids go to bed. Remember to stay a REI through and through and don't get caught up into being a 'blogger' or 'internet marketer'. They won't accomplish the same things being an REI will

  3. Great lesson, Scotty! This is why my blog redesign is yet to happen…can't justify the time it will take me to do it the way that I want it.

    If the phone isn't ringing, it sounds like its time to send out some more mailings!

    By the way, what are you looking around on the MLS for?

  4. New mailings went out on Monday, I'll probably get some calls over the weekend.

    On the MLS I'm looking for short sales and the hot sheets for my area just so I can get a feel for the flow of things.

  5. I couldn't agree more.

    I actually didn't buy the e-book, you can sign up for the free “training” where they send you a new chapter 1 day at a time. He's posted all the information on his blog. The e-book just compiles it all in a nice package, at least I think.

  6. It's so hard sometimes to stay focused. As i move along I come upon things that I want to do and try and fit them in on the side, but some weeks I get caught up in those “side wants”

  7. Its good to reflect on use of time. On your to do list, highlight everything that directly affects your success in RE. If it doesn't then either cross it out or do it after all other items are done. Has helped me a bunch lately.

  8. Scott,

    I was reading your list of what you did all week and I'm glad you said the “busy work” phrase because that's what I was thinking.

    We've all been there and I'm sure you've seen plenty examples of my “busy work” too. What's important though is that you recognized it and will be doing something about it. Kudos to you for that.

    I haven't kept up with things lately, for obvious reasons, so I'm excited to see how you've been progressing. Talked to my first seller today in a while…….just for “practice.” Know what I mean?

  9. I get caught up in “busy work” when I'm in between big tasks. My head spins while I'm trying to figure out what I should be doing. A coach would be great during these times.

  10. I can tell you that even with a coach, I have a mentor that I speak to twice a month for over an hour each time. Yes it keeps me on track, but it is still very easy to get derailed and 'think' you are busy. Unless you are talking to sellers or buyers or are creating systems that you are know are going to get you talking to more buyers or sellers, you are wasting time.

    Now you could make the argument, well my blog could bring in buyers and sellers…. maybe, but this blog is more a focus for other investors.

    What I have learned is that you pump $$$ and time into things that have worked for you. If sellers are calling you from your mailings, then turn up the gas on the mailers. This is your funnel right now, open it up big. If you want to stay in a certain geographic area, then open your funnel to other lead sources. You said that you are in Morris County NJ right? Did you know that there are approx 2000 non-owner occupied owners of SFRs in Morris county that have at most, 50% CLTV? (direct email me to find out how I know these figures, no I am not selling anything) Whats that spell….equity. I am sure that if you sent a mailer to all those people that the phone would ring (when I dipped my toe into the wholesaling world, thats what I did, phone did ring). You know that when the person calls, its a person that is interested in selling, has equity, and does not live at the property.

    Or you said that you are interested in SSs, in Morris County there are over 8500 owners of SFRs that have 125+% CLTV, whats that spell… negative equity, SS leads.

    What lead me to my first deal was an all out daily discipline of getting the leads in, then the clouds parted the sun came through, the angels sang, and there it was, a deal.

  11. Chris Said..”Unless you are talking to sellers or buyers or are creating systems that you are know are going to get you talking to more buyers or sellers, you are wasting time.”

    You are exactly right Chris. I'm working on a limited budget right now, so expanding my mailings is not really possible because taking money out of the “family Income” at this point is not going to work unless I want to fight with my wife. So to keep family peace this weekend I took some time to think of what ways I could get talking to more seller with spending little extra. I've come up with a few good ones I think.

    I also thought about my blog and it's a resource I can use to pump some extra income into my hands to spend on marketing. Granted, it's not much extra at this point, but it's helping pay for my monthly probate leads from my source. Some months it has even paid for the entire thing.

    I'm going to send you an email to ask you about the non-owner occupants and the SS figures you have as when I get extra money each month for marketing I'd like to send out to them.

    As always, thanks so much for your comments, that truly add value to my site and help many people out like myself.

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